This article will teach you how to fix a water damaged MacBook. Keep in mind that the solution mentioned below will in no way guarantee that your laptop will work 100%.
If the steps mentioned below work, but there’s still significant water damage to the laptops internal components, then it’s best to take the device to an authorized service center.
Recommended Read: How to Fix a Water Damaged Samsung Laptop
How to Fix a Water Damaged MacBook in 10 Easy Steps
Step 1 — Power Off the Laptop and remove the power cable
The first step to fixing a water damaged MacBook is to turn off the power and unplug the power cable from the laptop.It is important that you power down your MacBook immediately after spilling water on it as this can save the internal circuit boards from shorting out.
- Press on the power button for 10-15 seconds to turn off the MacBook and then carefully remove the power cable from the side of the laptop.
Step 2 — Wipe away residual liquid
The next step involves wiping the laptop with a soft microfiber cloth to minimize the chances of water droplets entering the MacBook.
Generally water droplets have easy access to the internal circuitry via the keyboard and vents on the laptop.
Wiping droplets from there will reduce the chances of severe damage and you just might be able to save the MacBook.
Step 3 — Remove the jacks and USB drive
Since the battery of the MacBook is concealed and you will not be able to easily remove the battery, start by unplugging any USB drives or audio jacks that are currently plugged into your MacBook.
With a microfiber cloth, gently wipe the jacks and ports of the laptop to try and remove as much water as possible.
Step 4 — Flip the MacBook over and unscrew the case
Now that you have managed to remove the excess water droplets from the exterior of the MacBook, it’s important that you check the inside of the device to see if there’s any significant internal water damage.
Flip the MacBook over and carefully remove all 6 screws from the under-side of the laptop using a Phillips star head screwdriver.
Remember where each screw goes as the three screws near the vent of the MacBook are long and won’t fit in any other screw holes. So be careful when removing the screws and try not to lose any.
To lift up the case at the back of the laptop after removing the screws, use a plastic wedge and pry open the panel gently. You will hear clicks as you try lifting the panel, and this is okay because there are micro locks that help keep the panel in place.
Step 5 — Remove hardware and other components
Now that you are inside the MacBook, gently wipe down the panel and get rid of the remaining water droplets.
Next, with a microfiber cloth gently remove any droplets of water on the hardware and circuitry. If you’re able to, extract the removable components from inside the MacBook such as the hard disc and RAM.
Step 6 — Dry them using a microfiber cloth
Now that you have been able to take out your MacBook hard disc and RAM, wipe them down with a microfiber cloth and make sure that the sockets and terminals are free from water.
You can also use compressed air to blow dry the laptop and get rid of any dust particles and other non-water related residues left behind on the inside of the MacBook.
Step 7 — Leave the laptop to dry for 24 hours
If you’re sure that you have been able to get rid of all the residual water from both the inside and outside of the MacBook, leave the unit out to dry for up to 24 hours without reconnecting any of the hardware you took out.
- You can use a dehumidifier in the room to shorten the drying time or you can also consider storing your laptop in a dark and warm place during this time frame.
- Whatever you do, do not use a hair dryer as the heat that comes off the hair dryer is more than enough to loosen or damage the internal components of the MacBook. While using a hair dryer might sound sensible, it can actually lead to much more complicated issues that may require professional attention.
Step 8 — Reattach the internal components and close the laptop
Once you have left the laptop to dry for over 24-36 hours, proceed to re-attach all the internal components such as the hard disc and the RAM.
When everything is in place, attach the rear panel of the MacBook and begin screwing in the ten screws you took out in step 4. Make sure to use the right size screws when fixing the MacBook and do not try to force a screw into the hole.
Step 9 — Dry the remaining droplets (if necessary)
Now this step may not be necessary for everyone, but there are chances that you would have missed out on a couple of water droplets and you have only just noticed them.
Take the microfiber cloth or a soft brush and make sure to dab any droplets of water that are left on the exterior of your MacBook such as the keys or around the ports and power socket.
Step 10 — Turn on the MacBook
If you’re completely happy, proceed to turn on the laptop and wait for a couple of seconds. If there’s no significant damage to the MacBook, it will power up with ease.
However, there are some times where you may face some additional issues or problems with the device such as distortions in the display or the sound.
In this case, it’s advisable to take the MacBook to the nearest Apple Care service center or to a laptop professional you’re familiar with to fix the display and/or the speakers.
Things You’ll Need
Do’s & Dont’s
- Do not power on the MacBook when wet – Turning on your MacBook when it’s wet can result in the laptop short circuiting or damaging the internal components.
- Do not shake the laptop when wet – Shaking the MacBook after water falls on it is a seriously bad idea as the water droplets will easily move into harder to reach areas of the Mac, making it difficult to clean. It can also lead to more damage which means you’d have to spend more to get the device fixed.
- Do use a soft microfiber cloth – Always use a soft microfiber cloth while cleaning your MacBook. This is important because microfiber material does not leave behind fibers and won’t add to the static build-up within the Mac.
- Do ensure that the laptop is not plugged into the power source – Plugging your MacBook into a power source when it’s still wet is a bad idea and can cause the Mac to short circuit and result in either a fire or will render the Mac entirely useless and unfixable.
- Check YouTube for advanced tutorials – If this is the first time you’re experiencing something like this and you’re skeptical about opening the MacBook, refer to some YouTube tutorials for an in-depth understanding of the topic.
- Take a video of the disassembly – An easy way for you to remember where what goes is to record a video of you disassembling the Mac. This video will help you remember where which screw goes and will also help you keep note of what components have been removed from the Mac.
- Try facing a fan at the keyboard – Facing a fan at the keys on the Mac for a couple of hours will help evaporate any residual water droplets that are left underneath the keys.
- Backup your data – If you fear that your data will get corrupted, create a backup of your MacBook before resetting or formatting it. This way, once your device has been fixed and if it has been restored to factory settings, you can copy your data back onto the Mac without losing any important files.
- Buy a waterproof cover for the keyboard – There are many waterproof keyboard covers available in the market which can protect your MacBook keyboard from liquid spills.
- Purchase accidental spill insurance/warranty – Some manufacturers provide accidental spill insurance and warranty on their laptops. Purchasing this warranty will protect your laptop in case you accidentally spill water or other liquid on the device. Only those with this warranty will be eligible to receive service on their water damaged device without paying a premium.
- Work under a bright light and not in the dark – It is recommended that you work under a bright light and not in a dimly lit setting. The brighter the room, the easier it will be to see what you’re doing and you won’t accidentally touch or damage components within the laptop.
- Wear rubber footwear to keep you grounded – Since laptops run on electricity, there will be significant static build up within the laptop. Wear rubber footwear and if possible a pair of rubber gloves to prevent you from getting a shock or facing static discharge from the laptop.
Can rice help fix a water damaged laptop?
Yes, rice does help remove water droplets and residue from electronic devices and has been an age-old trick to fix phones and other electronics that have either fallen in or have had water fall on it. You can place smaller internal components such as the hard disc, RAM and even graphics card into a bag of rice to dry overnight.
My laptop won’t charge after getting wet, what can I do?
The battery of your laptop is probably facing water damage and this can lead to the battery getting difficult to charge. Replacing the battery will generally fix the problem, but it’s advisable that you check the status of your battery with a professional and see if there’s anything else that’s damaged within the laptop.
Can I use any cloth to clean a water damaged laptop?
While using any cloth may seem feasible, there’s actually a reason why it’s better to use a microfiber cloth instead. Microfiber cloth generally doesn’t have any loose fiber and normally carry a relatively high thread count. This is beneficial because the cloth won’t get snagged against terminals and there won’t be any strands of thread left behind in the laptop.